When you have an engine oil leak you are looking at some potentially serious problems that will eventually come your way. An engine oil leak means that not enough oil is getting to where it needs to be and this will cause a car to overheat. The pistons will begin to seize and not work. The engine will eventually stop working and many of the parts inside will crack or dry out. It is important to troubleshoot an engine oil leak as soon as you start to notice the car acting funny or the oil light keeps coming on. The information contained here will help you troubleshoot an engine oil leak so you can properly address it.
Check the Oil Level
Before you start crawling on the floor of your garage and poking around the dirty undercarriage or inside the engine compartment you should always check the oil. Remove the cap and pull out the dipstick. Wipe it off with a towel and replace it then pull it out again. If the oil pan is full of oil then issue is most likely a faulty sensor. If the oil pan is empty or very low then fill it with oil. Check the level after 30 minutes. If the oil is rapidly exiting the oil pan then you have a large hole directly in the oil pan. This can be remedied by replacing the oil pan.
Oil Pan Gasket
A more common engine oil leak can be found with the oil pan gasket. This would represent a very slow leak that you would not readily notice. You will need to crawl on the garage floor and get under the car. Locate the oil pan gasket and clean off the sludge with rags and a degreaser or solvent. This will allow you to see properly. Place a bucket under the oil pan and remove the drain plug to empty all of the oil. Replace the plug and fill the oil pan with oil. If the gasket is the problem you will see oil pooling around the edges. If this is the reason for your engine oil leak then drain the oil pan and remove it from the vehicle. Use a solvent and degreaser to clean it thoroughly. Purchase a good oil pan gasket and replace the old one. Place the new gasket on and replace the oil pan and fill it with fresh oil.
Your vehicle uses oil to keep the engine lubricated and it uses lines to transport the oil. Make sure the oil pan is full of oil and start the engine. Have someone press on the gas and as they do pay attention to each of the working parts that use oil. If an oil line is to blame then you may see the oil squirting from the line as pressure is applied otherwise the parts will not be properly lubricated. Repair these lines by replacing them.